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‘’Match Against Portugal, Korea to Directly Confront with Its Offensive Soccer’’

‘’Match Against Portugal, Korea to Directly Confront with Its Offensive Soccer’’

Posted June. 12, 2002 23:46,   


"We grovel and we lose. We will just do it our way"

On June 12, 2002, Guus Hiddink, head coach of the Korean soccer team held a press conference prior to the team`s closed practice at the Gyeongju stadium and stressed his firm confidence saying, "we can make the final 16 and our players are confident about it as well." In particular he expressed his determination to beat Portugal with his offensive soccer, pressing the midfield saying, "Korean players will not step back and wait for one or two chances of counterattack and we would rather take initiative at the match."

Followings are Q&A with Guus Hiddink

- Your players seem to be a little bit depressed after the match with America

"It takes time to recover from a depressed atmosphere. But it is a good indication that our players are disappointed. Because it means that they are not satisfied with the results. They would have gladly welcomed one victory and one draw we got at this point if it had been about four or five months before. This is the point. In a very short period, draw got to be not enough for us any more. Players began to get confidence. They are being aware of their capabilities and right now, they are going though a sound self-criticism."

- Any changes in defense line?

"Portugal puts a very powerful striker (Pauleta) in front, whom we must stop without fail. But it is certain that we have great team and mental strength. We should take initiative. If we step back, we will lose."

- Are Lee, Yong-pyo and Park, Ji-sung going to play against Portugal?

"Lee, Yong-pyo has done recovering training with his best efforts and right now took back his normal condition. It is not certain about Park, Ji-sung. He might go out for the match with Portugal at the last minutes as a replacement. I will keep an eye on his recovery until tomorrow night."

- What do you think of Portugal`s upturn?

"The Portuguese returned to their old form from their miserable first match. At the first game, they were idle and didn`t know what would take place. As I said before, strong teams like Portugal restore their mistake by all means. It actually did at a match with Poland. Poland did attacked but there were nothing critical. That is the reason why Portugal beat Poland with its counterattack. Portugal is a very threatening team. Our goal is to press and have control over Portugal."

- What are your measures to stop Figo?

"Of course I have measures, but we cannot give up our two or three players to stop that kind of world-famous players. When necessary, we will stop him, and we have players capable of doing it. We should not overestimate that kind of players. If we focused too much on them, other opponent players would leak from our defense."

- What are your prospects in regard to Korea`s making the final 16? And What is your fear on the teams you will confront at the second round?

"We have no fear. We will move to the second round and our players are confident about that. Why not. If we make the final 16 and take upturn, whom to fight does not matter anymore. I even don`t fear Italia that much. All teams that make the final 16 are strong including Korea."

- How do you think about Koreans` enthusiastic cheering?

"I do thank Korean soccer fans nationwide. They are just terrific. I think they are showing an outstanding example that fans can express their passion and at the same time keep public order. Peoples worldwide watched them and I myself received many questions about them. It is a positive image for Korea as well. I am happy to be with such fans."

Keuk-In Bae bae2150@donga.com